Japan Studies


My current research concerns Japanese-American veterans’ psychological well-being and reintegration into their home (civilian) communities. In a separate project I am also gathering data concerning Japanese veterans of World War II.  Additionally, in a theoretical exploration I consider the relationship between science and ideology in the comprehension and treatment of American veterans’ psychological anguish and suicide.

My Courses at California State University, Long Beach:  

Japanese Language, Culture and Communication  combines the study of sociolinguistics with analyses of social organization to equip students with effective tools for communicating more effectively with Japanese people in all aspects of life, from friendship and love to formal business interaction.  The course applies insights from both present-day Japanese social structure and universals of human nature and communication.  We also explore issues in machine translation and careers using Japanese.

Japan: Continuities and Transformations applies an evolutionary framework to Japan past and present to sort out what’s unique and what’s shared with similar cultures, in order to better understand Japan's cultural legacy, its constellation of strengths and weaknesses, and its contributions to world culture.

Japanese Culture as Social Science identifies and analyzes major features of Japanese culture and society today, using the Japanese language as a research tool.  The course emphasizes processes seen also in Western societies (such as globalization) in order to understand problems in common, such as changing gender roles, youth culture, and polarization in wealth, as well as Japanese responses to violence and alienation.

Recent writing:

My review of Miyazaki Hayao’s animated feature-length movie The Wind Rises (風立ちぬ), appeared in the February 2014 JPRI Critique.

My contribution to Japanese language education is summed in “Teaching Culture in Japanese Language Programs at the University Level:  Insights from the Social and Behavioral Sciences,” in Japanese Language and Literature, Vol. 43 No.2, October 2009, pp 319-33.

Major publications, based on extensive field research in Japan:

Japanese Science:  From the Inside.  Routledge, 1999, with Foreword by Nobel Laureate Arthur Kornberg, Stanford University, and translated into Japanese as 検証:なぜ日本の科学者は報われないのか [An Investigation:  Why Aren’t Japan’s Scientists Rewarded?]. Bunichi Sougou Shuppan, 2002.

Family Planning in Japanese Society:  Traditional Birth Control in a Modern Urban Culture.  Princeton University Press 1991 (first published in 1983), with Foreword by Professor Patricia G. Steinhoff, University of Hawaii.

Other publications related to Japan Studies appear in my academic CV.

© Sam Coleman 2014